Re-thinking your marketing strategy as the coronavirus hits businesses
Having already felt the direct impact of the coronavirus outbreak, businesses are having to make big decisions quickly. There are many concerns, mainly around the capital/ or the lack of it, falling sales, decisions put on hold and what could be done to maintain business as usual.
One of the significant concerns business leaders are facing is the re-allocation of budgets for the current and upcoming quarters. No doubt, the biggest chunks of marketing budgets are set aside for trade shows and events. With the realisation that all major trade events will now be cancelled/postponed for at least the next couple of months, shifting gears and marketing tactics is at the forefront of many minds. As we move towards lockdown, sales and marketing efforts will move to the virtual world, wherever possible.
Especially for the B2B sectors, digital marketing strategies will be at the forefront of demand generation. We strongly believe coronavirus will inevitably pass, and businesses will return to normal working before too long. However, utilising some simple marketing methods during this period of turmoil will only benefit your business in the long term.
So, what should businesses do next?
Review the current marketing strategy.
During these unexpected periods of doubt, it is wise for business owners to take a step back and assess how the business is functioning. Revisit sales targets taking into account changing customer situations, and align how marketing can support these goals. By assessing the current strategies in place, businesses can spend this time making improvements that may have previously been overlooked. For example, keeping your brand up to date with regular content and marketing material is essential to maintaining that sales pipeline as the focus can understandably drift from your brand when working for paying clients. Also, if your marketing investment is heavy on events and exhibitions, it is time to rethink and reallocate budgets to online marketing initiatives.
Consider the immediate needs of your customer .. and let them know you are there to help.
We always advocate putting needs of your customers first. Especially in these exceptional circumstances, we recommend engaging with existing customers, understanding their situations and needs and provide services that would help them through this crisis. Communicate clearly via digital media. How you can help – relook at your website messaging, email campaigns and especially social channels. There is a lot on everyone’s mind if you can give them one thing less to worry about, let them know how you can help.
Power up your Digital Marketing Channels.
Digital marketing becomes crucial as it’s the only way you can reach out to your customers. Do you have an inbound digital marketing program? If yes, it’s time to power it up, if not it’s not too late to start. Admittedly some of these methods do take time to bed in, hence why it is sensible to set these up now while your business has the chance. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the clearest example of this. Building up SEO content over time ensures your customer can find you when they are looking for a solution. Being prominent in your target market search areas is key to building a strong inbound sales pipeline.
In B2B marketing 80% of sales decisions are already made before the first sales touch via online research and review. Social media, online PR, webinars, google ads and email campaigns all channels have their place in a digital marketing strategy. We recommend choosing which channels you would get the best returns from wisely.
Further your marketing presence.
The best option to start this process is to extend and enhance your digital marketing arm. There are clear reasons why it is a sensible option in this climate. Firstly, digital marketing never stops. Whether working in an office or working from home, marketeers can deliver results continuously. The lack of need for face-to-face interaction means operations can be put into motion very quickly. The pressure on businesses to keep things moving during these unsettled periods means decisions must be made promptly. Digital marketing campaigns can be spelt out and put into immediate action, supporting sales teams in keeping communication channels open with existing and new customers.
Additionally, digital marketing is measurable. You can quickly obtain and provide clear breakdowns of statistics, see how your marketing is performing and optimise tactics for good ROI. Having this metric to validate businesses costs during such crises can boost support from investors and prove that the business is still moving forward.
We will all get through this
The bottom line is that this is an unprecedented event that has no timescale. Despite this uncertainty, it is not the time to retreat and back away from these challenges. It is time to reflect on your business and make changes to areas that have been neglected in the past. It is time to focus on keeping communication channels open with existing customers and prospects.
Marketing never stops and is key to keeping the business wheels turning. Adding or extending your businesses marketing arm now is essential to show your visibility in the industry you operate in and reassure your investors that you are reacting rather than retracting. We wish you the best and we hope you get through these tough times and come out at the other end with a bang!